The Mother I Carry: A Memoir of Healing from Emotional Abuse jNoso Shining Path rebellion that started in Peru in 1980 But the author has not a word about Leftist killings in Colombia Cuba Bolivia or anywhere else I place this tale at 15 starsGaleano idolizes the Aztecs Maya and Incas They had their accomplishments indeed but they were warlike practiced human sacrifice and enslaved other tribes Cortez s and Pizzaro s tiny bands would have been forced into the sea if not for the ability to raise huge indigenous armies thirsty to overthrow Aztec and Incan hegemony Without uestion the Spanish Dutch Portuguese and English mistreated the native peoples and African slaves The greatest value of Open Veins is in the early pages which hold nothing back when vividly describing Spanish enslavement of Indians to work in the gold and silver mines and to work the haciendas The Spanish didn t bring wives and took Indian women at gunpoint if needed Galeano fails to see the connection between early Spanish rule and the present but other thoughtful authors have fingered the mordida bribe culture of colonial Spain and authoritarian caudillo rule as continuing today in many Latin American countries Open Veins is not shy in its Marxist economic critiue Galeano gleefully flies in the face of mainstream economics with strident advocacy of protectionism He is practically the last person alive to think communism was a rousing success in Cuba The book suffers from a rudimentary understanding of economics I found the freuent Marx and Lenin uotesarring Even the phrasing is Marxian Most of Latin America saw the back of colonial Spain two centuries ago In Galliano s view nothing changed with new masters imperial England and the USA There is of course great truth about Uncle Sam s involvement in Latin America Although in typical fashion Galeano exaggerates Marines here there everywhere I don t pretend to be an expert on everything that ever happened in Latin America but Open Veins doesn t mesh with what I ve read elsewhere about the end of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic Ford in the Mexico the Panama Canal Walker in Nicaragua and the like In so many cases there is a kernel of truth to EuropeanAmerican heavy handedness but Galeano is like a steam roller using outlandish emotional statements eg seemingly voluntary economic transactions are actually plunder devastation and slavery There is absolutely nothing here about say Western medicine conuering malaria Yankee godless technology built a leisure class of a fortunate few in Lima Caracas Buenos Aires etc Galeano s cluelessness shows through with statements like of the Argentine capitalists productivity is low because it suits them the law of profit prevails over all overs Actually higher productivity drives higher profits I doubt Argentinian capitalists want low productivity Low productivity may exist but not because of a devious plot He actually writes of 20 American aid organizations bringing birth control to the not to help the people no but to depopulate it so American economic interests can conuer ia As I said at the outset Open Veins is like a novel than a serious historyGiven that Galeano s solutions of socialism and protectionism have failed what is better He never even considers other developing nations and even by 1980 a number of formerly colonized Asian nations were fast approaching developed world standards Taiwan South Korea Singapore and liberalizing China are illustrative Even within Latin America Chile the nation which suffered the admitted human rights abuses of Pinochet liberalized its economy under the Chicago Boys and has higher living standards today and is a functioning democracyA much better thinker about Latin America and a gifted novelist too is Mario Vargas Llosa who ran for president of Peru His Sables y Utopias is infinitely nuanced than Open Veins saying La globalizacion no es por definicion ni buena ni mala globalization is neither good nor bad it is the result of many factors including technological and scientific advances international business and capital flows and interdependent world markets pg 158 Vargas Llosa succinctly writes Obstaculos al desarrollo nacionalismo populismo indigenismo corrupcion Obstacles to development nationalism populism indigenism corruption Indeed Latin America has been ill served by its governments often the legacy of colonial Spain and stillborn reforms of Juarez Bolivar and well meaning others Latin America has had far too many right wing dictators and military untas it also experienced Peronist and Cardenas style Leftist populism More recently we saw the failure of Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela who incredibly brought shortages and economic depression during an era of record oil prices to the nation holding the world s largest oil reserves For decades rafts floated one direction in the Florida Straight away from Cuba Galeano never says a word about Latin Americans living in the United States Is there not a lesson in the economic success of America s 70 million Hispanics who enjoy a higher standard of living than Hispanics anywhere in Latin America Take a Mexican or Cuban or Colombian and put him in New York City or Miami and he tends to thrive Same people same culture but a very different economic and political system Vargas Llosa thought Peru could learn from Asian Tigers democratic capitalist engines like South Korea I do not uibble for a moment about the horrors of early Spanish colonization Yet Latin America is not the only place that was colonized even brutally and dwelling on 500 years ago won t improve today Korea succeeded despite Japan
S Far Recent Colonialization Of far recent colonialization of peninsulaLatin America needs the rule of law The mordida lives and breeds cynicism allowing narco cartels and criminal gangs to thrive from Venezuela to Tijuana Mexico needs to stop scaring its entrepreneurs into migrating to the United States Mexican Americans are about 25 times likely to own their own business at least legally registered one to own own business at least a legally registered one their relatives back in Mexico Latin America needs property rights another Peruvian Hernando de Soto has written interestingly about the virtual impossibility of poor suatters in taking out even the most modest loan which helped lead to the current popularity of microloans in developing nations Latin America needs better education and learning focused in STEM science technology engineering mathematics The continent has produced many great novelists and muralists but Latin America would benefit from its own Bill Gates Michael Dells Jeff Bezos and Sergey Brins It is telling that Latin America s richest man Carlos Slim while a skillful businessman succeeded in the shadowy world of Latin American telecomm privatizations Latin America has a few notable colleges but it cannot even begin to compare to United States RD eg Caltech Stanford MIT Harvard Johns Hopkins and most any large land grant university India by comparison created an excellent STEM program in the campuses of its Indian Institute of TechnologyGaleano s solutions to Latin American problems are Marxism and protectionism Sadly filling the continent with socialist strongmen like Hugo Chavez would lead to another 500 years of pain and backwardness in Latin America A fundamental book for understand the social economicculturalscientific and politic condition of Latin AmericaA absolutely must to read for everybody in special all Latin America inhabitantsPerhaps somebody in a near future will write The Open Veins of Africa Two Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent An indispensable albeit controversial book to understand Latin America A work of impressive scope essentially the history of a whole continent Just not to confuse anyone about the ideological orientation of the author the book is printed at least in my edition with a nice red cover Now okes aside some parts of the book are written in a rather loud tone which many will consider is borderline on propaganda but let me suggest to the adventurous reader to ust ignore that and delve into the facts which are well researched and for which many references are given Yes many parts are controversial and Galeano freuently picks the interpretation that better fits his cause but so what This is not a PhD Thesis or the History as Set On Stone for a Future Alien Civilization Actually it defies classification as it is a mixture of essay and ournalism covering topics not only in history but also in economics and sociology This is a dense book I found that I could only process a subchapter at a single sitting about 10 15 pages Yet it is still uite accessible and any dedicated reader should be able to finish it Some parts of it were unknown to me and probably to most readers who are not from the involved countries Take the Paraguayan War as an example it is in terms relative to the population the bloodiest war in contemporary history imagine a country wide version of the The War of the End of the World and yet it is a widely unknown corner of history If at least for the amount of historical and economical issues touched inside these pages it is worth reading actually the chapter on the nature of international loans could had been easily written nowadays by Agricultural Engineering just swapping the names of a few countries in for others in Europe The biggest issue with this book other than the tone that seemed to scare a few other reviewers is that I find the structure prone to repetition You can learn how tin was extracted from Bolivia s mines in what were essentially slavery conditionsust to produce one of the top 10 tycoons in the world at the time Later you can learn how silver was extracted can you guess in which conditions or who got the lion s share of the profits That is indeed a problem with any kind of systematic exploration of these kind of issues What happened with the huge profits derived from natural resources in the continent Well we ve got to see one by one and a pattern clearly emerges and that is the linking thread of the book In resume Massive amounts of information here presented by someone who clearly knows how to write while effortlessly crossing between topics and literary genres Take it with a bit of salt and you can get a lot out of it. D this is an intellectually honest and valuable study Library JournalA dazzling barrage of words and ideas Histor. G he says but I was impressedGaleano s thesis is that the first the European conuerors Spain and Portugal later European business interests mainly the British and finally the US government and business have promised developmental assistance but delivered subservience largely by economic means by keeping production costs low using raw materials and cheap labor from Latin American and then selling products for large profits even selling them back to Latin American countries at the same time as they prevent them from producing their own products In what seemed to me a telling comparison he contrasts conuistadors arriving in Latin American with the expectation of taking riches home to Europe with settlers in New England fleeing Europe and determined to grow their food and make the products they need for themselves and to stay not seek treasure to bring home In what turned out to be an advantage for North America there was no gold or silver not even promising farms land so the British in comparison to the Iberians tended to ignore the colonies rather than plunder them In this idea Galeano reminds me of Fareed Zakaria s thesis in The Future of Freedom where he explains that wealth in the form of natural resources is actually a deterrent to democracy because it leads to a ruling class that appropriates the resources and uses them to develop the country or to line their own pockets rather than depending on the population to supply funds for the government in the form of taxes Elections don t mean much if the people doing the electing have no power And clearly immigration to America took a far different path in the North than in the South The result was the development of a growing middle class of local producers in North America something that didn t happen in most Latin American countries which developed local oligarchies who themselves continued to be exploited by powerful patrons Galeano s text is colorful and impressive even for someone like me for whom the names and historical events are not familiar He s a master at creating powerful and memorable phrases than sum up probably somewhat simplistically but I ended up thinking often right nonetheless the problem Underdevelopment in South America is a result of development elsewhere a Volkswagen Republic is much like a banana republic nationalization doesn t necessarily redistribute wealth Over and over again he talks about the wealth concentrated among an oligarchy and the widespread poverty at the bottom that has characterized many Latin American countries for centuries making it clear over and over again that the outposts pay the price for the wealth of the centers The centers were usually the ports that grew up to serve the Europeans and later North Americans who needed to ship the gold the silver the meat the rubber the bananas or whateverIt s easy for a US citizen to agree with all the details about exploitation by Europeans harder to deal with exploitation by North Americans Legacy of Ashes The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner 2007 confirms US involvement in supporting the governments and business leaders that supported the US companies It struck me reading about the maneuverings of American companies that whether needing bananas or rubber or petroleum they were operating not all that differently from how we re discovering they operate at home and it s abundantly clear at this point that the US is moving toward something like the Latin American republics with wealth increasingly concentrated among the few while the middle class which enabled the US to be different from its Latin American neighbors is dwindling Power in the US is increasingly in the hands of corporations often multi nationals with loyalties primarily to their own interests which may or may not be the people of the United States But perhaps I push this too far I have to note that Galeano as many other Latin Americans deplores the fact that the US has even co opted the name America I had a hard time avoiding it in this review Bottom line This is a highly emotional book but the logic and the evidence is uite definitely not lacking I tend to compare him to Michael Moore who goes after public attention with emotionally charged rhetoric but backs it up with facts and details that prove the need for drawing attention to the issue I cannot evaluate the detail and no doubt Galeano exaggerates and rants but it s still a compelling book that s worth the attention of a thinking person This is an agonizingly lucid account of the of colonisation and depredation of a continent Beginning with the continuing genocide of the native population seguing into the advent of slavery and its replacement with hunger wages for the same back breaking or in the case of the mines lung destroying work as the slaves were forced to carry out and concluding with the neocolonial extraction of Latin American resources by the USA and Europe whatever Latin America makes he argues its main export is cheap labour Corporate vampires and their helpers the US government local dictators the IMF and World Bank are thoroughly indicted Galeano also takes care to mention the many uprisings and resistance fighters and the violence they were met with and also success stories like Cuba Essential readingThere are always politicians and technocrats ready to show that the invasion of industrialising foreign capital benefits the area invaded In this version the new model imperialism comes on a geuinely civilizing mission is a blessing to the dominated countries and the true love declarations by the dominant power of the moment are its real intentions Guilty consciences are ths relieved of the need for alibis for no one is guilty today s imperialism radiates techology and progress and even the use of this old unpleasant word to define it is in bad taste But when imperialism begins exalting its own virtues we should take a look in our pockets We find that the new model does not make its colonies prosperous although it enriches their poles of development it does not ease social and regional tensions but aggravates them it spreads poverty even widely and concentrates wealth even narrowly it pays wages twenty times lower than in Detroit and charges prices three times higher than in New York it takes over the internal market and the mainsprings of the productive apparatus it assumes proprietary rights to chart the course and fix the frontiers of progress it controls national credit and orients external trade at its whim it denationalises not only industry but the profits earned by industry it fosters the waste of resources by diverting a large part of the economic surplus abroad it does not bring in capital for investment but takes it out Incredibly informative well researched and thought out book that provides context into how Latin America got to the state it is in today When Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez Presented President Hugo Chavez presented President with a copy of Eduardo Galeano s Open Veins of Latin America during a summit meeting in 2009 the intellectually gouty noise "machine of the bourgeoisie began to flap its collective owls calling the gift an insult to America " of the bourgeoisie began to flap its collective owls calling the gift an insult to America Obama s acceptance of it a sign of his acuiescence to communist influences The truths contained in the gift were essentially ignored by the right wind punditry because truth and history have no place in the circus of sound bite chicanery not when the mainstream media is little than a clown car of corporate maleficence whose acuiescence in the plunder and economic repression of Latin America continues unabated the media s boosting of NAFTA FOR INSTANCE IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE instance is an excellent example imperialistic mechanisms at workOriginally published in the early 70s Open Veins of Latin America is an elouently written vivid examination of five centuries of genocide theft and political interference by European and American economic interests And while Galeano writes with passion and artistry his history is not the hysterical harangue the noise machine would have us believe The book is well researched and documented but Galeano s intensity and skill as a writer adds gravitas to the irrefutable evidence he presents a thing the noise machine cannot abide They fear his elouence but their attempt to invalidate the book through misdirection using the threadbare histrionics of anti communism failed Open Veins of Latin America is a powerful rejoinder to the stupidity and greed inherent in international corporatism both past and present Open Veins was a title in the Hugo Chavez Book Club the Venezuelan strongman surprised President Barrack Obama with a copy in 2009 Open Veins was written by a novelist in the vivid prose of a novel and the history takes many liberties making it like historic fiction On pg 283 author Galeano cited Chilean dictator Pinochet leaving 30000 dead which didn t ring true to my memory A uick check of Wikipedia shows various reports and investigations claim that between 1200 and 3200 people were killed That is Galeano s Open Veins in a nutshell taking various misfortunes and admitted outrages and then massively exaggerating themHow does one rate a book like this which suffers from even a rudimentary understanding of economics eg repeated assertions that individual corporations control prices which is only true of monopolies and lays every conceivable ill of Latin America at the doorstop of capitalism Europe the IMF the United States and Latin American liberal advocates of market economies and free trade Score a 2 or 3 for Galeano writing in a lyrical way I think of this as a story rather than history The first part detailing the evils of colonialism and the European importation of millions of African slaves is its best The story goes downhill deep into 1 tierra as it drones on about American and British companies and the dictators they back supposedly destroying Latin America Hence Chavez s love of this book There is no attempt at balance Galeano gives individual names killed by a right wing military in Guatemala yet there is not one word about those killed by Che and Castro in Cuba This 1971 book and its 1978 update predate the worst of the Colombian FARC or the barbaric Communist Sendero Lumi. E exposé which all students of Latin American and US history must read ChoiceWell written and passionately state. ,
This guy writes fiction likes it s non fiction and non fiction likes it s fiction He blends in and out better than anyone I know of What beauty what poetry what defiance what anger what celebration what satire what humour Sheer brilliance Oh and he does his research too Recommended related readings Pedagogy of the Oppressed Exterminate All the Brutes Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology The Wretched of the Earth Eduardo Galeano passionately recounts the horrific events of the last 7 centuries in Latin America I am neither a history buff nor Latino insider so I discovered uite a bit even as I concurrently traveled and experienced aspects of the region firsthand It should be noted however that the author applies no science or organization to his storytelling Facts are obviously molded for dramatic appeal handpicking specific dates excerpts from JFK speeches etc Footnotes are lacking for a staggering amount of uantitative data despite their couth and seemingly objective presentation Even as I read this book with a grain of salt I still found it powerful For if only a tenth of what is said were true it would still be a humanitarian story worth telling I hope to learn about these forgotten people of Latin America For the past month I have been collecting my thoughts and writing them out and putting them into paragraphs and shaping those paragraphs into a longer article of some sort But nothing has yet coalesced into a thing I would call a review or even a passable reflection This book has left me with a complicated bundle of thoughts and they seem to still transcend the pleasant shaping of words and punctuation into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into something that communicates an appreciation of some piece of work But here I go again Back at the well feeling somehow obliged to make something good out of this scramble of thoughtsPart of my problem is that this book has me caught between three worlds that I have a hard time bringing together The first world is the social democrat and dedicated activist who is particularly concerned by the wrath of economic ineuality in the world and how it is perpetuated by capitalism The second world is that of the historian my field and the thing that I call my profession when I am asked what it is even if I make my money in other ways the thing which nourishes my understanding of the world the thing which gets me excited and impassioned about the world The third world is that of the reader who hopes that a few nice words put together in the right nice order will produce something greater than the sum of its parts and that as a reader I will be able to recognize and appreciate and over enjoy the outcome This world hits all of those points I have so much to say But I must for the sake of time and for the sake of yours keep this short You have already read too much about meThis book when it was released was a firecracker It was bold in its scope nearly unthinkably audacious the sort of work which was hoping to set the world at unease And it succeeded In this work Galeano condemns centuries of pillaging from one of the grand great rich continents of the world for the benefit of another outside continent and its peoples He explains how that process was essential for the fundamental advancement of that other continent how it depended on the natural resources human resources and magical resources that were discovered on that new continent to make important technological and financial advancements In this book Galeano explores how that relationship changed and altered and became and possessive to the point where the entire continent was itself a possession in the great empires of the North And in this book he was one of the first historians and perhaps the first to translate his ideas into a work produced for the public which connected the centuries of pillaging that resulted from European Empire to the contemporary problem of North American Empire in a logical and sensible and horrific progression of time and power That is over four hundred years of history covering an entire continent and of exploitation tossing in a bit of the history of two other continents as well and attempting to explain the driving narrative or challenge of millions upon millions of lives past and contemporary in the process And then it also talks about the contemporary issues of his own time When I said that this book was audacious I meant it It is unthinkably audacious And surprisingly it does all of this fairly well if not perfectly if not seamlessly it does it well That is because Galeano writes like a writer and not like a historian an at the time uniue ability and which has been eualled by few other people working in the field of studying and understanding the past He has a strong opinion about the past which is undeniable and refreshing in its way It is clear that for him as somebody with a historical mindset the past distant and near explains his life and the lives that he sees around him And we all have opinions about our lives of course and many of us develop opinions about the lives that we see around us as well be them informed or
ignorant He has ust taken the extra step of into the past lives which his lifeHe has ust taken the extra step of into the past lives made his life it was and found something there that informed and reinforced his frustration He also doesn t hide his opinion behind over written analysis and poorly constructed sentences as so many historians do and neither does he attempt to make the history any less personal than it has to be he isn t in essence attempting to be academic in his writing That said his research is uite impressive by semi academic standards well informed balanced and deeper than you would expect from most any other history book which is written for the general public In the end Galeano s contentious presentation is vindicated by his research To this end Galeano is known as a historian poet or a poet historian That s a nice little niche that he managed to live in I think you will understand it when you read the book when you understand his language and feel the fire breathing passion that ignited its creationWhen I read this book I discovered and was reminded of a great many things about my life in Canada The wealth of my country is predicated on the poverty of other regions These regions have never benefitted from the protection of self development in uite the way that my own has and Canada and Canadian companies are actively working to ensure that those kinds of economic policies never develop and that the underdeveloped countries of the work remain underdeveloped And now that I live in Colombia and have been living here for nearly a year I can see it and feel it in the air The conseuences of a systematic effort by the powers of the world to strip away the richness of this continent its cultures its peoples in an effort to destabilize them politically financially and geographically and reap all of the benefits It is obvious everywhere It is felt everywhere The English language does not communicate this or at least my command of the language doesn t You have to be here to see it and taste it the way that blood and exploitation and desperation are built into a continent that is rich beyond all possible imagination which has had its veins tapped for centuries and which still finds itself muddied in the pools of underdevelopment The North as Galeano calls us fortunate ones has been a cruel mistress a wrestling partner who is infinitely stronger and its weight bears down on this place The North rather than this place wins everyday in everyway possible The book isn t perfect But it doesn t need to be It is a leaping off point for an entire way of understanding the world a confirmation of things that I have imagined to be true that I have heard sailing in the air at universities and in the street and a great searing cry against the dehumanization of a continent because of the unfair distribution of international labour and trade I have so much to read so much to learn As a side note on the afternoon that I finished reading this book I contacted a friend of mine in Canada The two of us did our graduate programs together I told him about the book told him to urgently read it when he finished his thesis told him how it changed my way of understanding Latin America and the place of underdeveloped regions in the world how it challenged some of the few remaining liberal lies that I had gestating in my brain I said to him also that this book convinced me than ever that free trade is a horrifying economic policy and must be fought In this book I read about the horrid past of an entire continent and saw the future of my country It should be read by everybody It is urgent and necessary I read this book out of curiosity and interest in Latin America I was advised that it was An Alien Heat just rant or left wing rant but decided to see for myself I came away with this as the main idea in Latin America free enterprise is incompatible with civil liberties as Galeano says in his commentary on the book in an afterward The book catalogues the exploitation of the people usually the indigenous people by South American oligarchies and by their European and North American affiliatesIt s certainly been a controversial book First published in 1971 and often condemned and freuently banned in Latin America I doubt it s been on the radar in North American very long The current edition was published in 1997 with a foreward by Isabel Allende It s been in the news recently when President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela gave a copy to Obama and then when commentators speculated on whether or not he would read it Actually I hope he did My first impression was that Galeano s detractors were right the book wasust rant Galeano is a ournalist and he knows how to use words to move readers My impression was that every sentence in the first chapter had emotionally loaded words If his ideas hadn t piued my curiosity I might have put it down Ensuing chapters might come to emotionally loaded conclusions but the presentation of evidence was impressive I can t endorse the ideas completely because I don t know enough to evaluate everythin. St Five Centuries of the Pillage of a ContinentA superbly written excellently translated and powerfully persuasiv.